Argos misses forecasts despite Black Friday boost

Argos website Image copyright PA
Image caption Argos received over 13.5 million visitors to its digital channels, three times last year's visitors.

Black Friday "significantly impacted" sales at the retailer Argos, according to the chief executive of parent group Home Retail.

The group, which also owns Homebase, said sales at Argos on Black Friday were up 45%.

But despite the boost, the store still failed to meet forecasts.

Like-for-like sales in the last 18 weeks nudged up just 0.1%, compared with expectations of a like-for-like increase of 2%.

Shares in Home Retail were down by nearly 5% on the news in early trading.

In a trading statement covering the period from the end of last August to the beginning of this month, Home Retail group said like-for-like sales at Homebase were up 0.6% and total sales were down 2.7%, which the group blames on store closures.

Homebase has shut 12 stores in the period, bringing a total of 19 closures in the last year.

John Walden, Chief Executive of Home Retail Group, said: "I am pleased with our overall performance during our important peak trading period, having managed through a volatile trading environment with good control of both gross margin and costs.

"This year's adoption of 'Black Friday' promotional events generally by the UK market significantly impacted the shape of Argos' sales over its peak trading period.

"In anticipation of volatility in trading patterns and the profit pressure caused by aggressive promotions, Argos pursued a more cautious trading stance over the period.

"This resulted in broadly flat like-for-like sales, but achieved both improved gross margins and good cost management."

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